Considering Hosting an Intern?
What Employers Need to Know and Frequently Asked Questions
Internships offer Indiana University East students real, hands-on experience in their field of study. They also provide host employers with enthusiastic workers, often resulting in valuable and enduring contributions to an organization’s success. Are you considering hosting a Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) intern? This page outlines some of the most frequently asked questions employers have about the internship process and experience. We hope you’ll learn that this is a win-win relationship for our students and your organization.
- What is an Internship?
- An internship is experiential learning designed to give students real world experience in applying the skills and knowledge that they have acquired in the classroom. A successful internship supplements and reinforces the classroom experience, helping the student see the relevance of her college education in a practical setting.
- Why Should I Consider Hosting a HSS Intern?
- Internships are a win-win situation for both the student and the employer. When you host an IU East student intern, you are:
- Welcoming a worker with a fresh outlook to your site.
- Increasing overall productivity at minimal or no expense.
- Allowing experienced workers to focus on more demanding tasks.
- Offering managerial experience to employees supervising interns.
- Exposing students to local employment opportunities, which may encourage them to remain in the Whitewater Valley.
- Potentially training a future employee. Even if you aren’t in the position to hire your intern, you’re still providing valuable professional development for that student.
- Elevating your business’s profile in the local community.
- How Do Internships Work?
- Internships usually last for one semester, or about 15 weeks. You have the option of offering a half-semester internship of 6-7 weeks, if you prefer. Interns work an average of 9 hours each week at your worksite, although that number may vary. Students are required to register with IU East if they are pursuing academic credit for the internship, and must report to a HSS faculty member about their work experience. The faculty member will be your contact to ensure that the intern is performing satisfactorily and ensures that the student is gaining relevant and meaningful experience.
- When is the Best Time to Host an Intern?
- Anytime! Generally, internships coincide with our academic semesters, which run from late August to early December, mid-January to early May, and from mid-May to mid-August. However, an internship can be flexible and adapt to your particular business needs. Summer internships are particularly popular with students, who often have more time for them. Regardless of when you host an intern, it’s best to advertise the position several months in advance.
- What Kind of Work Can I Give an Intern?
That depends on your business situation and the intern’s area of academic study. However, primary tasks need to be significantly related to the intern’s field of study. A student intern might help you design projects, develop marketing strategies, write reports or newsletters, perform educational or outreach tasks, prepare presentations, maintain databases or create websites. Secondary tasks such as answering phones or filing may be assigned, but they should be a smaller portion of the intern’s workload. For example, you might ask a Communication Studies student to design a public relations strategy for your business as a primary task, as this offers the student intern direct experience in her major. The student might also do some routine mailings, but this would be a secondary task on which she would spend much less time.
For more information about appropriate tasks, please read Experiential Learning Defined.
- How Many Hours Per Week Will the Intern Work? And When?
You and the student can decide this together, based on your needs and the student’s schedule. However, if the student is doing the internship for academic credit, the student will need to work an average of 9 hours each week. To be eligible for certain statewide programs, including EARN Indiana, the student must work 12 hours a week.
Learn more about EARN Indiana.
- Who Will Supervise the Intern?
- The intern’s supervisor will be one person in your business who will act as the “go-to” person for the intern. The supervisor will help your intern understand how your organization works, how to perform tasks satisfactorily, and how to generally be a good employee. Ideally, he or she will be someone directly connected with the primary tasks assigned to the intern, who can guide the intern and be on hand to answer questions as they arise.
- How Can I Make Sure the Intern is a Good Fit for my Organization?
Be as specific as possible about what you envision for the internship. Use our Internship Description Worksheet to identify all the features of the internship, including assigned tasks, required and preferred skills, and workplace environment. Share your completed Internship Description Worksheet with us so that they can help to make a perfect match!
- Where Can I Find More Information on the EARN Indiana Program through IndianaINTERN.net?
Students who qualify for Indiana State Work Study funds may be eligible to complete a paid internship through EARN Indiana. Please visit IndianaINTERN.net to become better acquainted with the program and determine if your company is eligible to participate.